Book Review: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

SPOILER WARNING! Do not read this if you have not read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet!

a-closed-and-common-orbit-by-becky-chambers

Feed Source: Galactic Commons Department of Citizen Safety, Technology Affairs Division (Public/Klip) >Legal Reference Files>Artificial Intelligence>Mimetic AI Housing (‘Body Kits’)

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Node Identifier: 3323-2345-232-23, Lovelace Monitoring System

I love this boooooooooook!

Some of you may have read my very excited review of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet: this book is the sequel and I am just as excited about it! I’m currently reading it for the third time, and I am more in love with it than the first time.

The worldbuilding is wonderful and detailed, building on the set-up established in The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. The story takes place in two different timelines, with two different POV characters: this certainly has the potential to be confusing, but in practice was handled very smoothly. The two characters were Pepper, who we met in the previous book, and Sidra, who is (sort of) new… In the present-day timeline, they live together, and it’s wonderful getting the interaction between their points of view: I love how Becky Chambers is able to present differing points of view and opinions in which there is no villain. It’s all just people trying to muddle through. I loved the perspective given by the different timelines.

And really, I’m hard pressed to know what else to say. I love this book, and I could just list all the things I enjoyed but that would involve a list of everything that happened in the whole book!

Some of my personal favourites were:

  • The POV of an artificial intelligence trying to cope with the “wrong” body.
  • Tak, wonderful Aeulon character who smoothly changes genders all the time!
  • Pepper Pepper Pepper I love Pepper.
  • This one line on a page near the beginning that reads “…looked like it had been pulled from the ‘Human’ example in an interspecies relations textbook: brown skin, black hair, brown eyes.” yes.
  • The character interactions are so brilliant.
  • Everything. Everything in this book!

So to conclude, reading this book sort of feels like sinking into a cuddle. Bad things happen, difficult stuff occurs, but it’s all handled with warmth and thoughtfulness and honesty.

Rating: read it, re-read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, drink hot chocolate.

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